My Experience:

Since 2016, I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals and groups as a mental health training consultant, mindset and resilience coach, and workshop facilitator. I work with forward-thinking organisations and purpose-driven individuals who are ready for positive change to improve their mindset, mental health and wellbeing.

Working online or face-to-face, I deliver Mental Health First Aid courses accredited by Mental Health First Aid Australia, I provide mindset, resilience and stress-management workshops for businesses and other organisations, and I provide one-on-one coaching for people who are looking to build new habits and move towards their goals. I’m also a nationally recognised NDIS provider.

For more details about group workshops and individual coaching, head over to the Work With Me page.

My Story (how I got here!):

I grew up in Orange NSW, where I still call home. I can clearly remember being a fairly carefree child until the age of around 5 or 6, then suddenly feeling as though responsibility for the family was on my shoulders. Whether or not I was actually all that responsible, is another matter entirely!

My mother and father were not a good match, and my father left the family home. It was the 70s, and my mother dabbled in drugs and found herself addicted. When it came to food or drugs, it was always drugs that won out. However, this was not an easy choice for my mother who was both pained to see her children go without, while at the same time remained stuck in her way of life.

My mother isolated herself from her family due to being ashamed, and we moved a lot, which meant my schooling suffered. When I was nine I was in a car accident that left me in hospital for three months with broken ribs, a punctured lung and ruptured spleen, among other things. I remember how relieved I was to have no responsibilities and three meals a day.

My stepfather came into my life and made things far more difficult, as he was extremely violent both to my mother and to his stepchildren. At some point, my mother ended up in jail, and my brother and I were shipped off to aunts, uncles and grandparents. The youngest siblings (the children of my stepfather) went to different homes.

Eventually, my father was located when I was around 12 years old. He moved from Sydney back to Orange to raise me and my brother, and things were a lot better. But I was very accustomed to running my own show. There were some clashes!

On my 18th birthday, I received a payout thanks to the car accident that I promptly spent on a solo overseas trip throughout Europe and the UK. After 18 years of having very little money, I was overwhelmed by this windfall. It was spent far too quickly and completely irresponsibly. I learned a lot and did an incredible (and much-needed) amount of growing up. That said, I was still a cranky bugger and put up many walls that would take decades to come down.

By my mid-20s I decided I wanted to work in the prison system. I think part of it was me saying, “Look at what I could have become, but didn’t”. Which, in retrospect, is not the right reason to get into anything. I like to think I was respectful to the inmates and to my colleagues (who I still think of fondly), but another life-changing event made it clear that the job wasn’t meant to be forever.

I was hospitalised with what doctors suspected to be Swine Flu and put into a coma for close to three months. My workmates at the jail rallied behind me by giving up some of their annual leave and transferring it to me, so that I could still help support my family – my wife, son, and newborn daughter. Members of the community joined in to give what they could. I am forever grateful for this incredible gesture.

I returned to work before I was physically ready, and my mind and body were no longer coping. Adding to this, I had survivors’ guilt (there were other people admitted to the same hospital at the same time as me, with the same illness, who didn’t make it), and I was fearful about using the money my generous workmates had gifted me. If I went to the coffee shop, would they think I was being too frivolous with what they’d given me? Could I buy my son a new bike? I wasn’t sure, so I began to isolate myself, just in case.

One day at work an inmate was wearing the wrong shoes. My job was to take them away from him; rules are rules. But I just looked at them and thought, “You know what? I just don’t give a shit.” At that moment, I knew it was time to change careers.

I worked at the mines for a while, which I knew from the start wasn’t really for me (although I did make some good mates). Then, I worked as an editor for a magazine for six years which was great. I had the opportunity to help other people tell their stories, and sometimes share pieces of my own. A seed was planted as I realised the power of storytelling and connection.

The time came when it felt right to leave that career, which gave me the opportunity to move towards what truly called me. I undertook training in 2016 to become a Mental Health First Aid Facilitator through Mental Health First Aid Australia, and found I connected with the participants really well, and that they took a lot from our time together.

This led to me working with schools, delivering Mental Health Incursion Programs for school-aged children with behavioural difficulties, to individualised mindset and resilience coaching with adults, and running mental health and mindset workshops for various organisations.

I have not looked back!

I’m still always learning, always growing, but am privileged to connect with amazing people on a daily basis and to walk beside them as they navigate new paths. It’s my belief that no matter what we’ve dealt with in our past, we can reshape our futures in small but meaningful ways that have a big impact.

We are not the victims of our stories; we are the narrators.

To get in touch, contact me here or email jamiestedo[at]gmail.com